Each year, The Dallas Morning News Charities raises money from its readers for 20 charitable organisations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With challenges in the economy, and a political climate that included an increase in conversations about “handouts,” we knew that our latest campaign had to reach both the head and the heart.

LB|RB, the strategic advertising team at The Dallas Morning News, accepted the challenge and reached out to the 20 organisations to find true stories of locals who were homeless, hungry — and able to rehabilitate. We showcased these faces of need in print, digital, e-mail, social, and video, with strong visuals and emotional stories that pulled viewers in.

Secondly, we highlighted the message that every penny donated goes to the charities. The Dallas Morning News covers all administrative costs of running the charities, in partnership with the Communities Foundation of Texas — so 100% of all donations directly benefit the 20 charities.

“It was an emotional and rational one-two punch that rallied supporters during our major push,” said Richard Jones, chairman of the board for The Dallas Morning News Charities.

The Dallas Morning News created a "head and heart" campaign that effectively raised US$1.2 million for charity.
The Dallas Morning News created a "head and heart" campaign that effectively raised US$1.2 million for charity.

 

And it was a knockout success. By the end of 2016, our campaign was US$66,000 above year over year, with 20% more donors than in 2015. By February 2017, the campaign had raised more than US$1.2 million from nearly 1,600 donors. Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, noted that this year’s drive surpassed the last campaign, which raised US$1.1 million.

“If we can raise more money this year than we did the preceding year, we’re going to be able to help more people in need, and that’s always our goal,” Moroney said .

We didn’t stop there. To make sure our donors are continually engaged, we created a print and digital special section for March 2017, that was distributed in The Dallas Morning News print editions and available 24/7 at dallasnews.com. This “annual report” shared final numbers, profiled the work of the recipient charitable organisations, and thanked readers who contributed to this effort.

It acted as both a call to action for more contributions and a thank you letter to the community. “This is a reflection of the big hearts of our readers and donors in North Texas,” said Camille Grimes, executive director of The Dallas Morning News Charities.

Our team is already looking forward to next year’s drive, and we suspect our readers are as well. By connecting to both the head and the heart, our campaign was not only noticed by a larger audience, but it encouraged priceless action.